Post Classifieds

Tim'm T. West presents 'The Front Porch:' Let Your Voice Be Heard!

By Shantez Tolbut
On May 3, 2011


"Times are hard for dreamers but we dream harder than the times," says local youth poet Patience. Author/poet/rapper/social justice activist/professor and scholar Tim'm West brought his phenomenon The Front Porch to Chicago. The show was created by West in Washington, D.C., as a "space for open mic and feature sets where all kinds of poetry, spoken word, hip-hop, acoustic, and soul music can be welcomed by people of diverse ethnic and sexual orientations."
This event has been done before in Chicago as well as in cities such as Atlanta, Houston, and others; it was hosted last month on the city's south side, at 2749 W. 63rd Street (on 63rd and California). The event was also hosted by Gender JUST, a local organization that advocates for the LGBTQA community of color in Chicago (as well as other issues including reproductive rights, hate crimes, racial discrimination, equality, and education for disadvantaged youth). All proceeds and donations went to this organization's causes as well.
The format of the show was an open mic set for other artists that wanted to perform. The second part of the night featured artists like West, queer rapper/singer/poet extraordinaire, JusJosh; powerful songtress and lyricist Patience; and actress/educator/poet, Shannon Matesky (who is West's daughter).
The performances of the feature set revolved around the themes of strength, courage and wisdom; other performances explored themes such as societal acceptance, social justice, love, music, and living in oppressive systems in America. These performances were thought provoking, insightful, and oftentimes extremely passionate and emotional.
"It's amazing to see people as they really are," said local Chicago artist Desla, under the spell of the night's magic. "We are all affected
by injustice, lies, and falsifications, [but] truth is truth."
"[The Front Porch and other similar events] creates a space to just be heard," said Jesse, a local community organizer. "It provides an aura of love in the room for youth to speak their minds. Kids hold things in, and that leads to violence and the destruction of our community. If people can embrace [this kind of] art, it can be used to navigate oppressive systems."
Many other artists at the event talked about this same kind of freedom of expression for marginalized people.
"When you feel underrepresented in any way, give it a voice," said Shannon Matesky. "Free yourself of judgment and secrecy; take risks. It's dangerous to stay silent. I was fortunate that my dad was my English teacher [because] he saw something in me and encouraged it to flourish."
West, founder of The Front Porch, shared his excitement about the outcome of the event and of some of his future projects.
"I'm feeling real good about the hunger for this kind of space in Chicago," he said. "I have a great energy here, [so] I'm moving here in the summer."
West is now the author of four books, his newest one entitled Predeposition (which being released this year) as well as his 10th album entitled Fly-brotha, coming out on Memorial Weekend of this year. He honors his daughter as the reason he ultimately embraced his bisexuality, adding that "anytime that you don't embrace all of you, you're not fully human."
For more information and updates on his projects and more, you can visit Tim'm T. West's page on Facebook, as well as the Gender JUST website at

"It's amazing to see people as they really are," ..."We are all affected by injustice, lies, and falsifications, [but] truth is truth."

Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly

Recent neiuindependent News Articles

Discuss This Article



Log In

or Create an account

Employers & Housing Providers

Employers can list job opportunities for students

Post a Job

Housing Providers can list available housing

Post Housing

Log In

Forgot your password?

Your new password has been sent to your email!

Logout Successful!

Please Select Your College/University:

You just missed it! This listing has been filled.

Post your own housing listing on Uloop and have students reach out to you!

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format